Senate limits entry of visitors; here's why

Senate leaders have agreed to limit the entry of visitors to the Senate after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19.

Cayetano’s medical situation was relayed by his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano, in last night’s plenary session.

Because he was exposed to Covid-19, Senator Francis ‘’Chiz’’ Escudero gave an update via his Viber and said that he had no symptoms as of late Tuesday.

‘’Just exposed. Will test in two days. Just want to be responsible, pro-active and not reckless,’’ he added.

As a result, Escudero attended yesterday’s plenary session virtually.

Under Senate rules, a Senate member who is Covid-19 positive with symptoms can still attend sessions virtually.

In view of the rise of Covid-19 cases, Zubiri gave instructions ‘’that all Senate guests and visitors, upon entry, must present proof of negative antigen test result taken within 24 hours".

These measures will be effective on Monday, Aug. 8.

‘’We just have to live with Covid-19,’’ Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III replied when asked whether the Senate should tighten protocols after Cayetano was tested positive.

Pimentel himself had grappled with Covid-19. He later recovered.

He agreed that the Senate leadership ‘’should limit the visitors to those who really have important matters to bring to the senators".

Pimentel strongly suggested that the Inter-Agency Task Force (ISATF) for Covid-19 created during the Duterte administration should be dissolved and allow the Department of Health (DOH) to monitor Covid-19 cases.

‘’That would actually lead to quicker reaction time as the DOH Team for Covid-19 would be smaller,’’ he explained.

Whether media practitioners covering the Senate are exempt from this directive is still being discussed by Senate officials.